The panel is our opportunity for residents to discuss with the police the policing of Sutton South Ward. It met for the first “in person” meeting since 16 June 2019, on Friday 8 October at the hall at Christchurch, in Christchurch Park. There was a good turnout with about 20 residents attending. The police team was led by Constable Robyn Skivens.
The police reported that crime in the area remains low with, in the period since 1 July, just one burglary, 8 thefts of motor vehicles and 14 thefts from motor vehicles. There was a wide-ranging discussion covering issues including how to ensure people report crime, abandoned vehicles, e-scooters (their use other than on private land is unlawful), anti-social drinkers and the successful use by the police of Community Protection Orders. The likely impact on crime from having more people working at home was also noted. It was agreed that, while the Metropolitan police have had a bad press recently and the issues exposed by the Sarah Everard murder are of genuine importance and concern, in Sutton South the performance of our local police officers has been exemplary. The panel will meet again on 28 January.
Arif Syed is our newly appointed Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator for the Ward and chaired the meeting. Arif lives locally. He is pictured in the Mayor’s Parlour with Trish and Richard.
Several residents of Copse Hill and Dunsfold Court have put to us the point that the parking bay reserved for motorcyclists outside Dunsfold Court is rarely used by motorcyclists, and that those with a motorcycle do not usually have difficulty finding somewhere off the road to park.
Consequently we have explored the suggestion that this be restored as a parking place for other vehicles, alongside the adjacent parking places, and this change will go ahead unless there is significant local objection. Please let us know if you have views on this.
We are aware of pressures on parking spaces in the area, which is one of the reasons we opposed the proposal for a new tower block with relatively few parking spaces at 2 Copse Hill. This proposal, twice turned down by the Council, is again with the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol as an appeal.
We are also aware of a proposal for a further block of flats opposite, on the other side of Brighton Road, which was also deficient in terms of the number of parking spaces. This proposal is not yet the subject of a planning application and we are concerned about policies set out in the recent Government White Paper on planning that would, in some areas, lead to automatic consent to planning applications without a process of neighbourhood consultation. We will keep residents advised of progress.
The outcome means that there is little change to the situation in our Ward.
The main outcome is that changes to the S3 bus that might have affected our area have not been pursued, which means the S3 will still serve Cedar Road and Langley Park Road. Changes to the S4 route that affected our area are not implemented and it will still run to Overton Grange school and along Grange Road. We are pleased with this outcome, which means there will not be any detriment to services in our Ward, and points we put into the letter of representation sent by Sutton Council have been acted on.
Every year Richard has to contact Network Rail to get the foliage that has grown up on the bank of the railway line at Kings Lane cut back. The work has now been done, as these before and after pictures show. The foliage obscures sight lines for motorists about to cross the bridge, so they cannot see if there is a car coming in the other direction, on the single lane bridge. A similar problem concerning sight lines for motorists arises with the cotoneasters at The Triangle where Mayfield Road meets The Ridgway and Farm Road. Richard is arranging to get these lowered in height.
TWO PLANNING APPLICATIONS FOR THIS AREA THAT WE ARE OPPOSING
We are currently, as your local Councillors, taking action on two planning applications that are of concern in this area.
First, successive applications to demolish 2-4 Copse Hill and 52-54 Brighton Road to build a 7 storey building with 55 flats and little parking have been rejected by Sutton Council. We object to this proposal as it will cause parking difficulties in the area. The developer has, for a second time, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. If you wish to make comments to the Planning Inspectorate on this follow the links at this address
Alternatively three copies of a letter of representation should be sent to The Planning Inspectorate, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN
Quote reference APP/P5870/W/21/3269612 (but you only need put in the final seven digits)
We only learned of this invitation to comment at the end of July. Comments are sought by 9 August. We are seeking an extension.
Second, we have learned of proposals for a five storey block for 36 flats with only 4 parking spaces almost opposite, on the corner of Cavendish Road. No planning application has yet been submitted by the developer but we will keep you informed on this proposal, which we will oppose in its current form due to the impact on parking.
These applications are submitted at a time when the Government are proposing to remove the right of local residents to comment on planning applications, in some circumstances. Richard made a speech at Sutton Council on 12 July attacking these proposals, which undermine local democracy. See posts further down the site.
The Sutton South Ward Police Consultative Panel met on 21 July, by Zoom. The statistics presented by the police showed that the Ward remains a low crime area, with one burglary and 37 motor vehicle related crimes (mainly theft from vehicles) in the period commencing in May. We also discussed the work of the police in relation to drugs warrants, but the most interesting discussion we had was about e-scooters. We hope to meet again in person in the autumn.
After a gap of a year and nine months due to the pandemic, a meeting of the Sutton South Ward police consultative panel took place, on 18 March. Before that, it had last met on 16 June 2019, after which some meetings were cancelled and then the pandemic struck. This meeting was by Zoom. We were delighted to learn that nothing much has changed – Sutton South is still a low crime area. Our discussion ranged widely, including garage burglaries, catalytic convertor thefts, speeding, and how to enforce the new 20 mph speeding limit in roads to the east of the Ward.
Richard spoke at a Sutton Council meeting on 12 July, expressing his concern at the Government’s recent White Paper on changes to the planning system.
During his eleven years as a Councillor one of his main preoccupations has been the quality and impact of development in the Ward. The current planning system involves local consultation and provides Councillors with opportunities to oppose developments that are inappropriate. At present there are two sets of proposals for major blocks of flats and tower blocks in Brighton Road that raise problems, particularly related to parking.
We are both concerned that the Government’s proposals increase the targets for new housing to a level that would require intensification of development in suburban areas, reduce requirements for affordable housing and remove requirements for consultation with the local community in some circumstances.
It was found that the recent Liberal Democrat victory in the Chesham and Amersham by-election was in part attributable to public concern over these proposals. we are hopeful that pressure on the Government to have a re-think will succeed.
This is what Richard said:
“What is great about Sutton is good schools, low crime and its pleasant, green, suburban feel. That pleasant suburban feel depends on a robust development control system that responds to what our residents want. Local democracy and local consultation on planning proposals are vital to maintaining the key elements – good standards of building and design, and the protection of the street scene.
I can take you on a tour of planning mistakes in my Ward, Sutton South, that have occurred when local democracy has been over-ridden – when the remote Planning Inspectorate in Bristol has overturned democratic local decision. Now, we have proposals from the Government that would mean that in certain areas developers would get automatic consent to planning applications without there being any process of consultation with local people, the voices and opinions of local people removed from the process. This is at a moment, in Sutton South Ward, when we are grappling with two proposed major developments, tower blocks, along Brighton Road, but with the possibility that the views of local residents will not even be sought. These Government proposals will run a coach and horses through the local democracy elements of the planning system. They are a charter for developers to make large profits building slum housing, while ignoring and side-lining the views of the local community. This continues a process of undermining the local democracy aspects of the system, already undermined by the Government’s extension, over the years, of rights of permitted development. They are based on a view that sees, somehow, the requirement to consult the community as being a brake on necessary development. That is nonsense – what the planning system does is ensure acceptable standards are met. We want to retain a system that, while it has defects, lets local people have a democratic say on what is built locally. That is too important a right for us to lose. “
On the day England qualified for the final of the European football championship, 7 July, Richard attended a meeting of Sutton Council’s Planning Committee, where we approved the proposals of Sutton United for a new stand, floodlights and a grass pitch, following their promotion to the English football league. Well done Sutton! Richard made a speech recollecting that in 2017 the club had, for the first time ever, reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, playing Arsenal at home. He was Mayor of Sutton at that time and attended the match. The facilities at the ground need upgrading, so he was delighted with these proposals for renovation. This puts Sutton on the map. Now that Barnet have dropped out of the football league, Sutton is the only one of the 32 London boroughs that people will regularly hear of, as a borough with a football league club that has the same name.
Trish and Richard were delighted by the victory of the Liberal Democrats in the Chesham and Amersham by-election. There is no doubt that a strong factor was the deep unpopularity of the Conservative proposals to emasculate the element of local democracy in the planning system. This is of particular concern in places like Sutton, where developers will destroy our pleasant and green local environment if given a free reign.
In support of our policies to combat global warming and reduce carbon emissions, electric vehicle charging points are being fitted in lampposts in our Ward. The first three will be fitted shortly. The locations are:
The lamp column near 18 Camborne Road, SM2 6RH (lamp column no. 11)
The lamp column near 20 Stanley Road, SM2 6TB (lamp column no. 14)
The lamp column near 13 Stanley Road, SM2 6TB (lamp column no. 7)
charging points are also planned for The Ridgway and Cedar Gardens. Given the policy to ultimately phase out petrol driven vehicles, a big and continuing expansion will be needed.
Sutton Council is working with Siemens to install Ubitricity lamp column electric vehicle charging points. Ubitricity lamp column charging points are compact and fit into the door of a lamp column. The aim is to deliver around 100 lamp column charging points in 2021. The aim of lamp column charging is to give residents the ability to easily charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the street where they live, especially if they do not have off-street parking or are unable to install their own home charging point. Installing residential charging points is important because a key barrier to people switching to electric vehicles is the concern around where they will be able to charge their vehicle.
These will be a new feature for Sutton, though they are now becoming commonplace on residential roads in other London boroughs and the numbers are increasing rapidly each year.
Lamp column charging points are most likely to be useful in roads with limited off-street parking (such as in private driveways), so priority is being given to locations where many residents park on the street.
Not all lamp columns are suitable for lamp column charging points. The lamp columns need to be “electrically suitable”, be positioned near the kerb and have enough internal space to fit the charging point. They need to be sensibly located so that a vehicle could safely park and charge next to the lamp column. The lamp columns also need to be made of metal, not concrete.
An “earth mat”, a small metal grid, is also installed in the footway next to the lamp column. This is to make the charging point “electrically safe” if there is a fault. The current parking restrictions in any street where there is a charging point will continue to apply and be unaffected by the charging point. There will be signs to indicate that the lamp column has a charging point fitted, though this sign will not prevent non-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles from parking next to the lamp column.
This is a major advance in our drive to promote electric vehicles and combat global warming.